Parktown Boys High School boarding house director testifies in water polo coach case


JOHANNESBURG, September 7 – Before closing their case, the State called the last witness in the trial against the former Parktown Boys High School water polo coach, Collan Rex, with the state witness telling the court about when he discovered CCTV footage that led to the coach’s arrest.

On Friday at the High Court sitting at the Palm Ridge Magistrates Court, State prosecutor Arveena Persad called Christian Bossert, a teacher and boarding house director at Parktown Boys. He told the court about an incident on 29 October 2016 where he saw Rex sexually assaulting a learner on CCTV footage.

The 22-year-old former coach is facing numerous charges, ranging from rape to sexual assault, exposure of pornography to a child, sexual grooming and attempted murder. Rex pleaded guilty to the 144 sexual assault charges of 12 boys. In total, there are 23 boys, aged between 14 and 16, that were alleged victims.

Bossert said: “The boy came to see me on the 3rd November 2016 and said to me he was in charge of the water polo caps and he left the bag in one of the common rooms. He asked me to view the CCTV footage because he thought it was stolen.”

Bossert told the court that at the time he was busy marking when the boy told him to view the footage and he saw Rex playing with a boy’s nipples.

He said he called his wife and told her what he had seen and she told the boy not to say anything until further investigations were done. Bossert said the boy told them that Rex always touched and wrestled them.

The former water polo coach is pleading not guilty to 183 of the 327 charges against him.

“The boy said Mr. Rex always says ‘it’s the Rex way’,” he testified.

The boarding house director said he saw Rex rubbing a boys legs before saying something, then the boy got up and got undressed and got into shorts with no shirt on.

He said he then saw Rex playing with the boy’s nipples before touching his genitals over the shorts. Bossert said on the video you could see Rex forcing to continue touching the boy, despite him pushing him away until he finally got his hands into the boy’s shorts and then led the boy into one of the dorm rooms.

“I immediately called the headmaster, the SGB [school governing board] head and the boy’s mom. When they arrived I showed them the footage and they agreed that we had to get Mr Rex arrested.”

During the week, a boy testified that Rex had called him to his room for hot chocolate and then performed oral sex on him.

Defence lawyer William Robertse said Rex would deny that happened because he had stayed with another house master and rugby coach.

“At the end of the year in 2016, he invited me to his room and he asked me if he could massage my back, then I said yes, then he tried to take my underwear off and I asked him to stop and he started touching my genitals,” the boy told the court.

The State closed its case after calling 17 of their 23 witnesses.

Court adjourned to next week.

– African News Agency (ANA)